Obama Clip: ‘I’m Just Telling The Truth Now’ Because I Don’t Have To Worry About Lying To Get Elected

Noted funnyman and U.S. President Barack Obama reverted to “telling the truth” in Austin, Texas today, informing a crowd of easily-amused young people (judging from the backdrop in this video) that he could finally relax on all the lying because he doesn’t have to worry about campaigning – or all the lying that accompanies it – anymore.

“I – I – I … I’m just telling the truth now. I don’t have to run for office again, so I can, just, you know, let ‘er rip,” Obama kidded.

He had to have been joking, right? Because he’s still lying about stuff, just like any other time.

On Wednesday – the day before this video clip was recorded – he lied about his disdain for staged publicity photos, telling the press that he would not accept Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry’s invitation to tour the U.S.-Mexico border zone because, as he put it, “I’m not interested in photo ops.”

“There is nothing that is taking place down there that I am not intimately aware of and briefed on,” said Obama. “This isn’t theater. This is a problem. I’m not interested in photo ops. I’m interested in solving a problem.”

Some of those statements may have been true, maybe. But not the one about being interested in photo ops. Breitbart picked up the gauntlet today and came up with this entertaining photo montage featuring 35 times the President has demonstrated that he is, indeed, interested in photo ops.

Too bad the guys at Breitbart don’t have extra hours in their day, or their list would undoubtedly have been a lot longer.

H/T: The Washington Free Beacon

Maryland Hospital Bans Employees From Smoking And Vaping — Even When They’re At Home

Being a smoker, vaper, tobacco dipper or user of any other form of nicotine delivery will soon be enough to automatically disqualify applicants who seek any kind of employment at one Maryland hospital.

And it won’t matter whether the would-be employees confine their nicotine indulgence to their private hours away from work, either. If an applicant uses any tobacco or nicotine-delivery products, at any time, he might as well toss his application in the trash.

According to The Baltimore Sun, Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis has revised its hiring policy to forbid tobacco use among its future employees, “whether as a surgeon or security guard,” as the paper observes.

The new rule takes effect beginning July 2015. Current hospital employees who smoke are grandfathered in and won’t be affected by the new rule.

While the new policy is generating a lot of headlines, it doesn’t follow close on the heels of some recent innovation to existing law. In fact, as the Sun reports, telling your employees they can’t smoke — ever — is already legal in many States. In Anne Arundel’s case, the burden of proof lies not with the hospital, but with the prospective employee, who must pass a urine test that screens for the presence of (legal) nicotine, as well as the usual batch of illegal substances.

Like most nanny policies, promulgators of the ban attribute the heavy-handedness to well-intentioned altruism. They only want what’s best for you:

Hospital representatives, who say their primary mission is “living healthier together,” say the new rules grew out of two years of researching ways to prevent tobacco-related diseases — and hearing out those who questioned the policy’s fairness and legality. The hospital hopes that health care costs will decrease over the long term, but that was not the primary driver, said Julie McGovern, the center’s vice president of human resources.

“We’re doing this to improve the health status of our community,” McGovern said. “It’s a serious obligation we have … and one of the important steps we can take to be a role model.”

Incredibly, the policy extends even to users of tobacco-free, combustion-free vaporizers — products that offer users the option of inhaling nicotine or of going completely nicotine-free, while positing none of the health risks of secondhand smoke.

Anne Arundel is not the first hospital to enact a ban on new employees’ use of tobacco. And as the article observes, such policies aren’t exclusive to employers in the healthcare field: “Other employers with such hiring bans include Scotts Miracle-Gro and Alaska Airlines.”

So far, no employer that has enjoined its workers from using tobacco has faced a significant legal challenge — although critics argue that it’s a discriminatory practice, one that dictates which legal activities employees can pursue in their personal lives.

New Info Suggests Lois Lerner Knew Of; Feared Congress’ Subpoena Power Over IRS Communications

Judging by the contents of a newly-released email written in 2013 by Lois Lerner, the former IRS exempt organizations director understood – and feared – the possibility that Congress might one day exercise its power to peruse the agency’s electronic communications.

It’s an amazing coincidence, then, that both the paper and the digital versions of those communications are missing now.

The House Oversight Committee, which is investigating the IRS scandal involving the discriminatory targeting of conservative organizations, finally obtained the 2013 email last week and released it today via its website, following a hearing with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Koskinen told the panel he’d never seen the email in question.

The contents are revealing. Lerner asked Maria Hooke, an IRS tech employee, along with another exempt organizations employee whether communications conducted via a Microsoft messaging system were searchable:

I had a question today about OCS [Microsoft Office Communications Server]. I was cautioning folks about email and how we have several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails – so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails. Someone asked if OCS conversations were also searchable – I don’t know, but told them I would get back to them. Do you know?

One can only speculate whom Lerner was talking about when she stated she “had a question today.”

The Oversight Committee flatly accuses Lerner of “leading an IRS effort to hide information from Congressional inquiries.”

“In e-mails withheld from the Committee until only last week, Lerner was apparently concerned that IRS conversations taking place within the agency’s instant messenger program could end up in the hands of Congress along with requested e-mails,” the Committee website asserts. “An IRS technology employees responded that ‘OCS messages are not set to automatically save’ but cautioned that ‘parties involved in an OCS conversation can copy and save the contents of the conversation to an email or file.’ Lerner responded, ‘Perfect.’”

That conversation took place less than two weeks after an IRS Inspector General’s preliminary report first accused the agency of discriminatory targeting of conservative groups. Lerner would later “break” news of that report, the Committee noted, by fielding a staged question during a meeting of tax lawyers before the American Bar Association.

Dozens Of Media Outlets Call On Obama To Stop Stifling Free Expression

A consortium of 38 media agencies and transparency advocates sent a searing letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, urging the Most Transparent Administration in history to “stop the spin and let the sunshine in.”

The group, led by the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ), highlighted a pattern of stonewalling, attempts at media manipulation and control, and restricted access – all of which, the letter accuses, amounts to “a form of censorship.”

The group cites numerous specific examples of the ways in which the Obama Administration either can’t be bothered to speak to journalists in the field, or forces reporters to obtain the equivalent of a White House permission slip to simply speak to Federal employees and administrators on the public payroll. And, the group asserts, it’s all politically calculated.

There’s the Reuters reporter who couldn’t get the EPA’s public affairs office (yes, the public affairs office) to talk to him about climate change. Or the New York Times story that had to run without comments from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), even though it was about a major CMS rules change that shuffles and expands the nomenclature of medical classifications both in the U.S. and throughout the world. Or the “dozens of instances” in which the Veterans Administration, before the public ever knew about its patient-delay abuses, had failed to respond to reporters seeking information on multiple topics.

It’s an extremely long list.

The group holds Obama squarely accountable for choking out the freedom of the press. “You recently expressed concern that frustration in the country is breeding cynicism about democratic government,” it reads. “You need look no further than your own administration for a major source of that frustration – politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies. We call on you to take a stand to stop the spin and let the sunshine in.”

Here’s more:

Over the past two decades, public agencies have increasingly prohibited staff from communicating with journalists unless they go through public affairs offices or through political appointees. This trend has been especially pronounced in the federal government. We consider these restrictions a form of censorship — an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear.

The stifling of free expression is happening despite your pledge on your first day in office to bring “a new era of openness” to federal government – and the subsequent executive orders and directives which were supposed to bring such openness about.

…It has not always been this way. In prior years, reporters walked the halls of agencies and called staff people at will. Only in the past two administrations have media access controls been tightened at most agencies. Under this administration, even non-defense agencies have asserted in writing their power to prohibit contact with journalists without surveillance. Meanwhile, agency personnel are free speak to others — lobbyists, special-interest representatives, people with money — without these controls and without public oversight.

…We ask that you issue a clear directive telling federal employees they’re not only free to answer questions from reporters and the public, but actually encouraged to do so.

You can read the full letter, as well as a listing of the many frustrated media entities that signed it, at the SPJ’s website.

 

Gun Control Group Sues Kansas Over Federal Nullification Law

Last April, the State of Kansas passed a law negating Federal gun control regulations. It drew the ire of Attorney General Eric Holder, who promptly informed Republican Governor Sam Brownback that the State law was unConstitional under the Supremacy Clause.

So far, the Department of Justice hasn’t taken up a case against the State to back up Holder’s claim. But the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has just filed a lawsuit to have the nullification law overturned, arguing Holder’s case for him: that the Supremacy Clause trumps a State’s power to criminalize Federal law.

The lawsuit, filed today, names Brownback and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt as defendants. It argues that courts, not States, are tasked with interpreting the Constitutionality of laws that limit the 2nd Amendment, and that “federal courts…have made clear that the Second Amendment allows for reasonable firearms regulations, confirming the constitutionality of virtually all, if not all, existing and proposed federal firearms laws.”

Kansas’ law provides for the felony prosecution of any law enforcement agent – Federal, State or local – who attempts to enforce Federal gun regulations involving firearms made, sold and owned exclusively in the State. In April of this year, Brownback signed a companion piece of legislation that prohibits local governments in Kansas from regulating firearms at all.

The Brady Center targets only the Federal nullification law, and parrots Holder’s strategy in arguing for its abolition.

In assessing the merits of Holder’s letter to Brownback last year, the Tenth Amendment Center argued:

1. Kansas is NOT purporting to criminalize the exercise of constitutional federal responsibilities. On the contrary, the bill criminalizes what the state has determined is unconstitutional. It is the position that such federal acts are indeed a violation of the Constitution. No matter how much Eric might believe it to be otherwise, his view is obviously not universal – especially in Kansas.

2. The Supremacy Clause. Holder takes the position that all tyrants do – that everything they do is authorized, anything to the contrary – worthless. But Holder is wrong. The Supremacy Clause doesn’t say that “any law in conflict with federal law” is void. It says that only those laws “in pursuance” of the constitution are supreme. The new Kansas legislation, again, takes the position that such federal acts are not constitutional, and therefore not supreme.

…Even with almost full state and local cooperation, there are now 18 states defying DC on marijuana prohibition. As two states – Washington and Colorado – legalize what the feds say is illegal, we’re watching the beginning of the end of federal dominance over the states.

On the right to keep and bear arms, people should follow the same path. Just say NO to Washington DC, and YES to liberty.

Feds Report Historically High Proportion Of U.S. Population Is Now On Welfare

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released its annual report to Congress on Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors, and in its 165 pages is the revelation that more people, as a percentage of the population, are now on welfare than at any time since the department began tracking the figure.

The most recent completed year for which HHS has compiled statistics is 2011. HHS has been keeping track of the welfare-receiving proportion of the overall population since 1993.

A number of entitlements combine to form the government benefits HHS recognizes as “welfare,” including foods stamps (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), short-term supplemental family income (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF) and low-income stipends (Supplemental Security Income, or SSI).

In 2011, nearly one-fourth of the U.S. population received one or more of these benefits.

Here’s how HHS explains the figure:

In 2011, 23.1 percent of the total population received or lived with a family member who received a benefit of any amount from TANF, SNAP, or SSI at some point during the year (see Table SUM 1). While falling steadily between 1993 – 2000, this annual recipiency rate began to increase after 2000, and increased more rapidly during and in the immediate aftermath of the “Great Recession.” The 2011 rate is slightly higher than the 2010 rate, reflecting increased participation in the SNAP and SSI programs.

HHS goes on to blame the economy, noting the post-2000 increase correlates “with worsening economic conditions.”

The food stamp program in particular has seen an enormous expansion. “Average monthly SNAP participation was 44.7 million persons in fiscal year 2011, excluding the participants in Puerto Rico’s block grant,” HHS reported. “This represents a significant increase over the fiscal year 2000 record-low average of 17.2 million participants and exceeds the previous peak of 27.5 million recipients in fiscal year 1994.”

In addition, there are far more children on food stamps than any other age demographic. In 2000, 19.8 percent of children age 5 or younger were on food stamps. By 2011, that figure had nearly doubled, rising to 38 percent.

Will More States Parrot Connecticut’s Gun Seizure Law?

In States led by elected officials who view violent crime as a problem that can be mitigated by limiting citizens’ access to guns, one preventive “solution” to head off sensational mass shootings may be to emulate a longstanding Connecticut law that provides for the confiscation of firearms under certain circumstances.

In 1999, Connecticut passed a law that allows a judge to order the “temporary” seizure of a citizen’s firearms if law enforcement can persuade the court that the subject represents a danger to himself and/or others. A seizure must be followed, within 14 days, by a hearing to determine whether the subject can have his firearms immediately returned. If the court finds against the subject, then the State is authorized to hold on to the guns for a year.

Now left-leaning State officials in California and New Jersey, horrified at the most recent spate of mass shootings to grip the 24-hour news cycle, aim to enact their own versions of the seizure law — in the professed belief that having a new legal mechanism to take someone’s guns away will pre-empt such crimes.

California’s AB-1014, which is in the markup phase of its move through the Senate, would create a procedure for the State to obtain a “gun violence restraining order” to seize the weapons of any person a judge deems to be a threat:

This bill would authorize a court to issue an emergency gun violence restraining order if a law enforcement officer asserts and a judicial officer finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the subject of the petition poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another by having under his or her custody and control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm and that the order is necessary to prevent personal injury to himself, herself, or another person, as specified. The bill would require a law enforcement officer to serve the order on the restrained person, if the restrained person can reasonably be located, file a copy of the order with the court, and have the order entered into the computer database system for protective and restraining orders maintained by the Department of Justice. The bill would require the presiding judge of the superior court in each county to designate at least one judge, commissioner, or referee to be reasonably available to issue orally, by telephone or otherwise, emergency gun violence restraining orders at all times whether or not the court is in session.

Aside from forever branding the subject of such an order by tracking him in a database, as well as the law’s abundant potential for abuse, the bill also makes further provisions for renewing the no-guns order on a year-to-year basis. It further places the burden of proof to break that cycle not on the State, but on the targeted citizen:

The bill would authorized [sic] the renewal of the order for additional one-year periods and would permit the restrained person to request one hearing to terminate the order during the effective period of the initial order or each renewal period.

Get caught with a gun while you’re under a “gun violence restraining order,” and you get your guns taken away for five years.

New Jersey State Senator Richard Codey, a Democrat, is behind a similar measure in the Garden State. You can read more on Codey’s confiscation push here.

Palin Versus Buchanan: To Impeach Obama… Or Not?

Sarah Palin torched President Barack Obama this week in an opinion piece in which she argued the time has come for the House of Representatives to draft articles of impeachment against him. Her ideology may be sound, but there are other conservative voices who believe that the GOP — and the Nation — have more to gain by watching Obama go down, slowly, in his own ship.

Writing for Breitbart Tuesday, Palin cited the ongoing border crisis as she made a passionate case for impeachment:

Because of Obama’s purposeful dereliction of duty an untold number of illegal immigrants will kick off their shoes and come on in, competing against Americans for our jobs and limited public services. There is no end in sight as our president prioritizes parties over doing the job he was hired by voters to do. Securing our borders is obviously fundamental here; it goes without saying that it is his job.

…His friendly wealthy bipartisan elite, who want cheap foreign labor and can afford for themselves the best “border security” money can buy in their own exclusive communities, do not care that Obama tapped us out.

Have faith that average American workers – native-born and wonderful legal immigrants of all races, backgrounds, and political parties – do care because we’re the ones getting screwed as we’re forced to follow all our government’s rules while others are not required to do so. Many now feel like strangers in their own land.

…President Obama’s rewarding of lawlessness, including his own, is the foundational problem here. It’s not going to get better, and in fact irreparable harm can be done in this lame-duck term as he continues to make up his own laws as he goes along, and, mark my words, will next meddle in the U.S. Court System with appointments that will forever change the basic interpretation of our Constitution’s role in protecting our rights.

It’s time to impeach; and on behalf of American workers and legal immigrants of all backgrounds, we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment.

You can read Palin’s full piece at Breitbart.

While Palin’s ideological basis for impeachment may be sound, not all conservative voices believe impeachment is the right approach. Pat Buchanan, who fundamentally agrees with Palin that Obama has done, and continues to do, impeachable things, argues that proving his offenses would become a protracted and creepingly unpopular process that would drain Republicans’ steadily accruing political capital. Besides, he argued, the political climate strongly favors letting things just play out as this year’s election cycle — as well as the Presidential election of 2016 — approaches.

In an opinion piece for WND on Monday, Buchanan made the pragmatist’s case against impeachment — an extreme measure he described as “a bridge too far”:

Democrats are talking impeachment to rally a lethargic base to come out and vote this fall to prevent Republicans from taking control of the Senate, and with it the power to convict an impeached president.

Still, Republicans should drop the talk of impeachment.

For the GOP would gain nothing and risk everything if the people began to take seriously their threats to do to Barack Obama what Newt Gingrich’s House did to Bill Clinton.

The charges for which a president can be impeached and removed from office are “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

With Bill Clinton, the impeachers had a solid case of perjury.

With Richard Nixon, they had a preponderance of evidence that, at least for a time, he had sought to obstruct justice in the investigation of the Watergate break-in.

Concerning Obama’s “I was the last to know” pattern of excuse-making to explain his role in the many scandals under his watch, Robertson says there’s not much to be gained by impeachment-minded Republicans, who would be risking a dramatic swing in the momentum they’ve gained in public opinion, which already has come to regard Obama as an ineffective bungler:

Obama claims he did not learn of the IRS abuse until years after it began, and weeks after his White House staff learned of it.

In the absence of those emails, the claim cannot be refuted.

In the Benghazi scandal, the president’s defense is the same.

He had no idea what was going on. And cluelessness appears here to be a credible defense. Two weeks after the Benghazi atrocity, Obama was at the U.N. still parroting the Susan Rice line about an anti-Muslim video having been the cause of it all.

…Any Republican attempt at impeachment would go up against a stacked deck. And the GOP would be throwing away a winning hand for a losing one.

For while the American people have shown no interest in impeaching Obama, they are coming to believe they elected an incompetent executive and compulsive speechmaker who does not know what the presidency requires and who equates talk with action.

Buchanan’s full piece is online at WND.

Who’s right? Are Obama’s offenses against his Constitutional oath so egregious that Republicans should summon the zeal — at any political cost — to follow through with impeachment (especially if they retake the Senate in November)? Or should they sit back, confident and self-assured that the remainder of his Presidency will implode, to their benefit, without irrevocable harm to the Nation?

Or is all this talk of impeachment among conservatives nothing more than news fodder and gamesmanship, what Buchanan himself described as “just beer talk?”

Bloomberg Group Plans To Question Every Federal Candidate On Gun Views

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group – currently operating under the new name Everytown for Gun Safety – has announced it intends to survey every candidate running for a Federal seat in this year’s midterm elections to suss out their stance on – what else? – gun control.

The effort represents Everytown’s response strategy to its vastly more powerful and more popular ideological arch-nemisis: the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA grades legislators on the familiar A-F scale to convey to voters a sense of candidates’ commitment to the 2nd Amendment.

Everytown has decided to go the questionnaire route, although the questions the group is posing – “Do you agree: we can both do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and protect the rights of responsible, law-abiding people?” – are so fraught with leading assumptions they might as well answer themselves.

Some of these questions get lengthy, but here’s a sample – a question about expanding the State’s confiscatory powers:

Federal law prohibits anyone from having firearms if they have been convicted of abusing their spouses, or if they are the subjects of active restraining orders taken out by their spouses, but not if they have been convicted of stalking or have been convicted of abusing their dating partners. The share of intimate partner violence that occurs in dating relationships has been steadily growing – and as of 2008, more domestic violence homicides were committed by dating partners than by spouses. Do you support a law that would prohibit gun possession by convicted stalkers and people convicted of – or, who after due process, are actively restrained from – abusing a dating partner?

You can see a more concise version of the questionnaire, which you can also take for yourself (fun!), here.

The NRA told The Washington Post that Everytown, which expects to spend $40 million of Bloomberg’s money per year on gun control lobbying and PR, is wasting money – and time.

“Money cannot buy the hearts and minds of the American people when it comes to the Second Amendment,” said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam. “Michael Bloomberg is just the latest incarnation of a long line of anti-freedom billionaires who’ve tried to take on the National Rifle Association.”

On the paper version of the questionnaire, Everytown is giving candidates a space to clarify their views on gun control, in their own words. We’re holding out to see whether 2nd Amendment stalwarts like Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) take the boring path simply by choosing not to respond to the questionnaire, or whether they’ll make things interesting (and grab some free publicity in the process) by getting creative with their answers.

Feds Sue Another State Over Its Voter ID Laws

A Federal lawsuit against North Carolina’s recently approved voter ID law has the State delaying its implementation until a judge decides whether it can begin enforcing the law while the lawsuit is in process.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against the State after it passed the law, which requires voters to show a recognized form of photo identification and prohibits same-day voter registration, last year.

Attorney General Eric Holder called North Carolina’s law an “extremely aggressive” attempt to disenfranchise black voters — despite the fact that States that have conducted elections with the new laws in place report a dramatic surge in the number of blacks who participate in elections since the voter ID component was added.

“The state legislature took extremely aggressive steps to curtail the voting rights of African-Americans,” Holder said Monday. “This is an intentional step to break a system that was working and it defies common sense.”

Voter ID laws vary among the 31 States where they’ve survived court challenges and gone into effect, but there’s not a great deal of difference between North Carolina’s voter ID law and the others.

In addition to the photo ID requirement and the same-day registration ban, the law also ends straight-party voting, provides for more poll watchers at local precincts, abolishes the option to donate to political parties on State tax returns and ends the practice of allowing people as young as 16 to “pre-register” to vote.

A May Fox News poll found that 51 percent of black voters support voter ID laws, while 46 percent oppose them.